GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - This year you're going to see the Port of Gulfport become greener. The port announced Friday it joined a program called Green Marine, which provides the framework for ports to improve their environmental performance. The Port of Gulfport CEO says this move makes the port more marketable and folks could start seeing changes to the port as early as this Fall.
Environmentally friendly isn't something most would think when they see a port. But Port of Gulfport officials are hoping by becoming the second salt water port in the country to join the Green Marine program, they can minimize the impact of the activity going on at the port.
"Certainly, as an industrial facility in the heart of downtown Gulfport, we do have a responsibility to be as environmentally friendly as we can," said Gulfport Port CEO and Executive Director Jonathan Daniels.
Daniels says Green Marine is a voluntary program and provides a certification process that reduces their carbon foot print.
"What we want to do is bring in the expertise to help us make the proper decisions as we deploy new technologies and put best management practices in place to green our port as much as possible. That's everything from dealing with diesel emissions reduction programs, to how we handle storm water discharge, to how we do our plantings, to where we do our plantings," Daniels said.
Currently the 295 acre port is at level one in the certification process. That means the port is in compliance with all regulatory agencies. But for the port to truly make a positive impact, it needs to get to at least levels two or three.
"If we can go up to level five that means we are showing world class environmental leadership. It's gonna take a lot to get there. We're going to have to utilize alternative fuels. We're going to have to utilize alternative forms of energy. Whether that's wind power, solar, whether it's going to natural gas in our fleets," said Daniels.
One of the big things the port is doing to become greener is getting electric powered cranes, which will reduce the amount of use of their diesel powered cranes.
In addition to their green initiative the port is also looking at enhancing their landscaping by changing the lighting and fencing and adding vegetation.